Which treatments are recommended for metastatic breast cancer?

Metastatic breast cancer is the most advanced stage of the disease. Also called stage IV breast cancer, metastatic breast cancer has spread beyond the breast into other parts of the body. The lungs, liver, bones, and brain are the most likely to be impacted by metastatic breast cancer, but other parts of the body can be involved as well. Here is what you need to know about treating this form of breast cancer.

Treatment considerations
Metastatic breast cancer is still treated as breast cancer, no matter what part of the body it spreads to. This is because the tumors in other organs are still made up of breast tissue, so they respond to breast cancer treatment.

The kind of treatment your cancer care team recommends for your metastatic breast cancer depends on a wide range of factors, including:

  • The parts of the body that are affected
  • The characteristics of the tumor
  • The symptoms you are experiencing
  • The treatments you have used in the past

Treatment options
Surgery is not usually used for metastatic breast cancer, except in rare cases. The most frequently used treatments are:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Hormone therapy
  • Targeted therapy
  • PARP inhibitors

Often, patients undergo a combination of treatments for the best results. In addition to standard treatments, many patients with metastatic breast cancer take part in clinical trials, which allows them to get access to a medication that are not yet on the market but that may be helpful to them.

Resistance to Medications
Medication resistance is a common concern in treating metastatic breast cancer. Frequently, a treatment will work for a period of time, and then the body will become resistant to it. When this occurs, it is necessary to start a new treatment.

To identify resistance when it is occurring, patients undergo regular blood tests and cancer scans.

Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center offers 3D mammography for the earliest possible breast cancer diagnoses. The earlier cancer is detected, the more effective treatment can be. You can request a referral for a mammogram in Las Vegas or learn more about cancer care by calling (702) 916-5023.

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